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Recategorizing people.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.16

This article is about when white people are skeptical that black people experience the racism that they claim to experience. This paragraph jumped out at me:

I don't expect much. Just nodding and acknowledging my words would be enough. Instead, jumping in to explain what must have really happened before I can finish a sentence means that - whether you realize it or not - you've shattered an important bond and traveled the distance from friend to acquaintance. I smile, make a mental note, and change the subject, realizing that with this person, topics from now on will be limited to rating entrées at the latest neighborhood bistro or judging whether the new Scorsese film shows the master back in top form.

I'm not in that exact situation, but I totally recognize the description of reeling and re-categorizing a person from friend to acquaintance based on something they blithely tossed out. It gets at what living in a red state is like - there are truly a lot of liberal people. I have a surplus of amazing people in my life, and it wasn't hard to find them. But you have your radar out with acquaintances, and sometimes you mis-categorize someone and get a rude awakening.

That's not exactly what happened here - finding out that someone is super-duper religious does not damage them the way finding out someone is super-duper conservative does - but it was still a shock to my system. (Also part of the shock is that they are a single organized entity.)


 

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Gab away here now.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.16

So basically you all are going to be going in circles over the presidential election for the next eight months? And every few days, we'll post an election thread which zooms to 500+, and all the other topics will languish? This sounds super interesting.

Arcane re-worn debates over small details here!


 

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Taste

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.16

My xfit overlords sent out a semi-dumb article. This paragraph made me laugh:

In one fascinating experiment, scientists deprived a group of test rats the sensation of taste. This group of "tasteless" rats, along with a control group, were placed on a normal rat diet. Both groups ate the same amount of food, and in a short time the taste-deprived rats all died. When the rats were autopsied, researchers could only find one cause of death - clinical rat malnutrition. The scientists could come up with only one explanation - that there are important yet unknown physiological connections between taste and health.

GENIUS. (The article is not worth clicking through. It's fine, it's whatever. Lots of semi-gross phrases like "a well-salivated mouth".)


 

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Chess

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.04.16

Pokey has a recent vague interest in chess. He likes the idea of pieces moving and taking each other, at least.

Here is how I would like to play chess: I would march right up and boast, "I intend to think TWO moves in advance!" My opponent would march up and boast, "I intend to think THREE moves in advance!" Then I would shake their hand and concede defeat. It's like Name That Tune, but without playing the tune. Just trust people.


 

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McQueen in Los Angeles

Posted by Ben
on 03.04.16

He says:

Apologies for the late notice, but I'm headed to Los Angeles tomorrow, and a meetup is brewing. Saturday night, at or near the Ace Hotel before or after (or both!) a showing of Punch-Drunk Love with a live orchestra. I realize that this is likely inconvenient, given that distances there are measured in parsecs, but I suffer you to come unto me if you are able. Tigre and k-sky may be there, along with an old classmate who's a lawyer in the movie biz, so it will be metal and probably pretty Jewish.

To be clear, I am not going to LA to see an Adam Sandler movie, even one with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it. Rather, I am going to the West Coast premiere of Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields on Sunday night, which I recommend to all Angelenos. Like your megalopolitan hellscape, it's vast and sprawling. Some of it is a lot like Messiaen, but there's a mess else besides.


 

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What Is It About Washington?

Posted by Ogged
on 03.03.16

Not at all safe for work, but very funny. Multiple LOLs!


 

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Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Lithwick

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.16

I read this article yesterday, but it popped up again and I had so much fun re-reading it.


 

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Footsy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.03.16
Since 2007, 12 human feet clad in running shoes have been found on the shores of British Columbia, from Jedediah Island to Botanical Beach. So far, the provincial coroner's office has identified eight of the 12. Of those eight, there were two pairs. The remaining lone feet, the coroner determined, belonged to men.

Ack! Gross! The horrible deaths implied!

Via E. Messily


 

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Technologically dim

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.02.16

I will never cease to be amused by Hawaii's principal, and his habit of sending out a text message of a link to a photograph of his computer screen which displays an email that he wants us to read. Extra bonus points when the email contains a link that he wants us to follow. I know I've mentioned this before, but it's just so great. Sometimes the glare on his computer screen makes it hard to read the email.


 

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Mystery wrapped in an enigma

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.02.16

E. Messily: what a dumb/weird world/dude

Heebie's take: Clo Toe speaks!


 

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Super Tuesday

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.01.16

Gab away.


 

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Thoughts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.01.16

1. Our hero?

2. I finally heard the Hamilton soundtrack and I can see why everyone likes it so much! Now don't be world-weary and dismissive of an overly popular phenomenon.

3. I'm at P&Z training today and I'm super excited. It feels like the first day of school. I think I may be in a boring rut at work.


 

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Trump U

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.29.16

I would be so excited if there's a big, ridiculous spectacle of a trial about Trump University being a fraud, in August. via

Also, "who knew that the KKK had such dorky fucking names for everything," says E. Messily.


 

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Guest Post - Apple

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.29.16

retsiniM emirP writes: Dear Mineshaft. Help me think here. I am puzzled by the Apple/FBI imbroglio. I start from two axioms:
no actor in this is entirely to be trusted and no one should be above the law.

There is also one fact: strong encryption is unbreakable and widely available. The security services lost that fight for good in the 1990s. So there are some things that Apple simply cannot help the FBI with, even should they want to do so. The question then becomes, why shouldn't they do what they undoubtedly can?

So far as I understand it, three arguments have been put forward why they shouldn't. All seem variants of the slippery slope, though one is technical, one legal, and one geopolitical.

1) The technical argument is that you can't make the necessary fbiOS so that it works on only one phone. If it works on the phone of interest, then it will work on all others of the same model. I don't know if this is in fact true: if the phone remains in Apple's physical custody it's hard to see how the fbiOS could be copied off it by the authorities for further, unauthorised use. But let's assume that the program does escape from this particular phone and is available to the security services. The technical version of the slippery slope argument is that they would then deploy it without any legal constraints.

1 b) Technico-legal: if Apple can be compelled by a court order to help get at the contents of this particular model of phone, then subsequent court orders might compel them to co-operate with any other model of phone they make. This looks like a hybrid technico-legal slope: older iPhones can be cracked without difficulty by Apple and it's clear this used to happen on a routine basis. Post-Snowden Apple made the decision to build their phones so it would be much harder to crack them (see encryption point above) and the company could presumably in the future make them proof against fbiOS-type upgrades. Of course that would make it impossible to fix bugs in the firmware, too, but that's a tradeoff the company and its customers might think worthwhile.

2) Legal slippery slope, related to the above: if a Californian court can compel Apple to co-operate in this case, other courts in other states will attempt the same thing and Apple will be forced to comply. Either Apple protects all phones or it protects none. One case will be followed by others. But I can't take this seriously as a slippery slope, because the courts are there, surely, to decide between proper and improper applications. Of course law enforcement will try it on. But it is one of the functions of the judiciary to stop them doing so, and if you can't trust the courts to do that, you have a problem that is social, legal and political, not technical. The Bush administration's use of torture shows that such problems are in fact endemic to the present American system, which leads to

2b) The strong counterargument that I am assuming a robust legal framework with proper laws regulating what the various parties are allowed to do. The All Writs Act of 1788 or whenever is not such a thing. So absent a clear directive from Congress this should be left in abeyance. That doesn't of course help us with the questions of principle at all. Under a different legal framework -- for instance the English one -- it seems clear that Apple could be asked to help. Which brings us to

3) the International or geopolitical slippery slope. Even if we trust the US system to produce a fair and constitutional settlement between the various interests, we can't make the same assumption of the Chinese, the Russians, or even the perfidious Brits. If Apple yields to the state of California, other bad guys will try to compel it to co-operate in matters they deem to be of internal security. Today the San Bernadino jihadists, tomorrow the Dalai Lama. I find this argument difficult to meet but it feels wrong anyway. For one thing, the cat is out of the bag. If the Chinese feel they can force Apple to co-operate as the price of doing business in China, they will make the attempt anyway: they won't feel bound by the decisions of American courts not to do so.

Were it not for the analogy ban, I would reframe the problem as one in which a ring of paedophile priests all confess their crimes in the confessional. In a state with mandatory reporting laws, should the clergy be exempted? And what about Father Damian, the strongly encrypted priest, in whom years of alcoholism have produced Korsakoff's syndrome, so he literally cannot remember the horrendous crimes of which he has absolved you? This seems to me to raise the same questions of principle, but with an entirely different emotional colouring.

Heebie's take: So will I be annoyed by the size of an iphone 6? my 5 is dying.


 

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Things

Posted by Ogged
on 02.28.16

--Steph Curry is having a season for the ages.

Last night's game-winner will probably be the signature shot of the year, but he's been making these all year. The reactions from other NBA players are pretty funny. Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) gets to the heart of it.


--Hillary is barely to the left of Joe Lieberman, and my ideal candidate would be pretty far to the left of Bernie Sanders, but does Sanders even pretend to have a foreign policy team? Best as I can tell, he hired this guy and...that's it. This stuff matters too.

--Best pop albums since 1980...I'm going to go with Thriller, Appetite for Destruction, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and Stop Making Sense. Those are all also from the 80s, but I'm old and everything sucks now. Whatchya got?


 

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